A strong U.S. dollar and rising equity markets helped drive an increase in the global over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets in the second half of 2020, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
The gross market value of OTC derivatives rose by $300 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars) to $15.8 trillion, the BIS reported.
A surge in the value of foreign exchange derivatives led the way, rising by 21%, which the bank said was likely driven by the strength in the U.S. dollar against other major currencies.
In addition to FX derivatives, equity-linked derivatives also contributed to the overall increase in the gross market value, rising by 28% to their highest level since 2010.
“Equity-linked derivatives are increasingly popular with investors seeking exposure to U.S. equity markets,” the BIS noted, with U.S. equity-linked derivatives now accounting for almost half of the market, up from less than a third in 2012.
Alongside the increase in market value, the gross credit exposure of OTC derivatives rose by $160 billion in the latter part of the year to finish at $3.4 trillion, the BIS reported.
However, the market’s notional value decreased by 4% to $582 trillion in the second half, it said.
“The Covid-19-induced market turmoil and strong policy responses drove developments in derivatives markets throughout 2020,” the BIS said.